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Geoff Lawton's online PDC course 2013

 
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I've signed up for the course as well. I think I've gotten a great deal for 1000 dollars. I understand the disappointment of those who cannot afford the class but I imagine Geoff will continue to make this course available in the future and it might be worth tucking money away for.

Wouldn't it be cool to set up a fund to send one person through the course who is not able to afford it? Maybe one of Paul's famous contests? I don't have a lot of money but I'd be willing to cough up $20 or so. We'd need 50 people to do the same. I don't know if that's possible but maybe some are able to contribute more. Just a thought.

I don't post a lot, mostly a lurker. Thanks for all of you who have contributed to my knowledge.
 
pollinator
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Brad Vietje wrote: I really wanted to sign up, but there's no way I can spend $1,028 USD on this right now.



In case you missed it, they've worked out a 3 month plan @ $400 a month.

I signed up last Friday and though it was a bit too hard of a sell, it also seems like a really good deal. I think just to order the DVDs that come with the course would be >$400 with shipping.
 
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Consider that Geoff has offered his knowledge as 'the only answer' to global climate collapse. If you had 'the only answer' to global climate collapse, would you charge $1,000 for someone to learn about it, or would you offer it--as many musicians and artists do now--on a sliding scale or on donation? Let the rich West pay for it, let the people who really need it attend for free. Who is to say that he's capping it at 1000ish students, for that matter? If you were to offer it for $1000, would you really turn away ten people who wanted to pay? Really? Capitalist?



Geoff talks about this very thing in the course in regards to PRI'S "Master Plan". They get called all over the world to consult and work on aid projects, most often with the UN and NGO's. The funding for these projects is typically between 3-5 years. After 5 years, a food forest is not mature, but it is productive and demonstrably contributing to healing the land and helping people to become self sufficient. What I can remember from the video that I watched last Saturday (I'll be reviewing it again this weekend) is that Geoff's model in those aid situations is to set up a demonstration site within the first years when they are being funded. They then offer training to the local's free of charge in the form of a PDC. Locals make up half of the class, the other half being internationals who are paying to be there. This serves to fund the project beyond the 3-5 years so that they don't have to pack up and leave town after the money stops flowing in from the aid organization (like what happened with his first project in Jordan).

What also happens is that the Internationals want to be there and want the information. They are enthusiastic and ask lots of questions. Locals who see this take the information more seriously because it's obviously something that people from the west find very valuable. This way the locals become more enthusiastic themselves and are more eager to put the principles into practice.

That sounds to me to be a pretty solid model. Westerners can get experience and training on some of the most difficult sites on the planet, as well as contributing to global aid in a way that is not just "give a man a fish" .... I was asked a few weeks ago to sponsor a child through an aid organization and they showed me the typical project and community setup that they implement. I want to help more than anything, but the widely accepted model of aid that is implemented worldwide is so fundamentally flawed in that we are treating the symptoms. The people are hungry, so we give them food. They have no home, so we build them a house. These are all very noble things, but without addressing the issues that caused them to be hungry and homeless, how can we expect the problem to go away? I found myself wishing that these aid organizations would base their projects on permaculture. It's great that they built a well, it would be better if they were teaching how to harvest and store water. It's for this reason that I am thrilled to be supporting PRI's efforts as they "teach a man to fish".

Geoff is presenting Permaculture as "the only answer" to climate change not because he has a narrow view, but because Permaculture has such a wide scope. He tells the story of how he was brought in on a project along with other experts who practice various methods of land restoration to give their ideas on how they would go about working with the piece of land. He was hired over the others not because Permaculture was presented as "the way" but because he said all the other methods the other consultants were presenting as "the way" would indeed work. He describes Permaculture not as a single set of methods but as a wardrobe that contains many different coats. Each coat is a different method or technique, some coats you wear more often, some only occasionally, and some not at all depending on your climate or preference. Geoff's favorite coats may be different than your favorites, but they all fit into the same wardrobe that is permaculture. Anything that cares for the earth, cares for people and returns surplus fits into Permaculture. If something contributes to our permanence on this planet, is that not by definition a part of Permaculture? He describes Permaculture as inclusive in techniques, not exclusive.

All this talk about Geoff not needing a million dollars is rather ignorant. Ignorant of the fact that there are a lot more people behind this than Geoff, and that a million dollars really does not go very far in the world these days, especially when you are running and expanding an international organization. We can criticize the current economic system and wish it be different all we want, but reality, here, now is that money is what it takes to make things happen. The work Geoff does with that money helps to reduce people's dependence upon it. Is money and marketing evil? If so, it is a necessary evil to GET THE KNOWLEDGE OUT THERE.

When a value is assigned to something, people value it. If a hard sell tactic is what it takes to get people signed up who otherwise would not sign up, then what's the problem? More people's brains are infected with Permaculture. Many of you know permaculture instructors or practitioners in your own area, or have your own groups or clubs, and have a patch of dirt to play with. You don't see the value, and in your situation I can understand there is no value as you can get what knowledge you need for free through conversation or experimentation. For those of us who are isolated from like minded people, are not on land and have the money to take the course, this is a perfect match. This will likely lead to people having more confidence to take the plunge and change their lives. I really can't see how that would be bad, especially not if this can be amplified by teaching over a thousand people in a matter of months. If anything, we need more people than just Geoff Lawton doing this (online Wofati Design Certification anyone?). In fact, I seem to remember a certain rotund man in overalls releasing a rocket mass heater course on a 4 DVD set, in a format not so different from Geoff Lawton's, yet I didn't hear so many people complaining about Paul being a crook and a disappointment. I even recall a similar hard sell in that the dvd's may not be sold after the kickstarter so get them now. I do remember Paul raising something like $90k in what, 18 days? Now all I read are congratulations on getting his land and nothing but support for now being able to realize his dreams and further the spread and vindication of Permaculture. Nowhere have I read "I hate Paul's guts now". Mind you, this is Paul's website and likely nobody has the balls to say it here, but Geoff doesn't come by often enough to defend himself.

People who cannot commit the time to attending a workshop or course, yet value the material presented, are more than willing to pay for a video format. Who are we to tell them there is no value when without that format they would not have the chance to learn. There is clearly a demand or else Geoff would not be offering this. If you don't want to participate in that format, you really don't have to, but you may want to consider that Geoff has probably been asked for years to do this by people around the world. Those people are getting what they wanted and Geoff is no monster for providing it.
 
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I didn't buy the course not because I "can't afford it" but because I don't think it's a good value for the price. Just the DVDs for $400 and I'd be all over it. Here's why:

1. That $997 is covering his whole marketing campaign cost. I'd guess $200-300 off each sale is going to cover marketing cost.

2. He threw in a ton of extras that I don't want or need (I've already seen most of his DVDs) in order to justify a higher price.

So I'm not interested in the product he's offering at the price point he's selling it for. I have the money but I'm not going to spend it on this. He can charge whatever he wants. People can justify why they bought or didn't buy all day long. I hadn't seen my viewpoint represented so I thought I'd chime in here as well.

I'm an info junkie by nature and one of the the first things you learn as an info junkie is that information can be had for free if you're willing to dig. If others can't afford it but want the info, you can get a decent permaculture education without spending a dime.
 
Rick LaJambe
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I received an email from GeoffLawton.com this morning:

"I'm closing down registration for my
Online Permaculture Design Course
TODAY - Friday, May 10th.

It will close at midnight USA PST or sooner."


So if you were planning to sign up, today would be the day to do it.
 
steward
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Clearly Geoff has provided a huge gob of information for free and a huge gob for money. And there are now mountains of information out there that is free.

As you try to wrestle with the idea of "how do I change the world by the millions or billions of people?" you encounter the challenges of doing damn near everything at a cost. The more money you have, the more you can get done.

I am utterly baffled at the comments (many of which i have deleted) that seem to attempt to shame Geoff into giving everything away for free. And without a tip of the hat to the free stuff.

I suggest that those people that think there should be more free stuff, be the change they want to see: go out and create great content and give that away.

Further, I think a lot of the stuff that costs money reaches and audience that it would not have reached if it had been for free. So I think the smartest strategy is exactly what Geoff is doing: give some away for free and sell some.


 
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Thanks, Paul, for the judicious pruning. I checked to see if anything I wrote was heading to the shredder, but my posts appear to be intact. Nonetheless, having read your publishing standards, I will try to adhere more closely to them.

Having said that, I'm going to wax philosophical, so hopefully this will stay within the guidelines!

So, all of this discussion about the purpose and structure of permaculture education has got me thinking about form and function, and biomimicry, and where each of us fits in this whole ecosystem of Permians. Here's what I've been thinking about:

Permaculture, as I have come to understand it, sort of sprang up independently in three different places, in three different forms: Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in Australia, Masanobu Fukuoka in Japan, and Sepp Holzer in Austria. There may be others that I am still unaware of in my general ignorance as a novice. We can think of these people as the main stems, the principal trunks of a forest of permaculture knowledge. Mollison and Fukuoka and Holzer are the towering oaks, perhaps, strong and abiding and impressive. Or maybe they are black locusts, but instead of fixing nitrogen, they are capable of fixing pure thought out of thin air and converting it to a form of knowledge that mere mortals can make use of.

Other luminaries seem to have come up with major contributions -- if not overarching design approaches -- independently as well. I'm thinking of folks like Emilia Hazelip, Jean Pain, Ruth Stout. There are surely many others. These innovators and others like them are like trees filling more specific niches, perhaps, along the margins of the meadows, within the shade of the overstory, in the open savanna. And all of these trees were nourished and sustained by myriad smaller "plants" and other organisms, each contributing specific ideas and insights, or simply the organic debris of failed concepts and outdated notions.

And each of these "trees" developed sturdy limbs -- their closest students and disciples -- like Geoff Lawton to Mollison, Larry Korn to Fukuoka, and Josef Holzer to his father, Sepp. There are many others, some of whose names we know (including a certain fellow in overalls out in Montana), some of whom we will never know, but who nonetheless form part of the central structure and strength of these trees.

And each of those limbs has additional branches, and those branches have branches, and those branches have twigs, and on those twigs are leaves. But every branch and even every limb was once a twig, small and insignificant at first, but growing in strength and importance over time.

Many scientific, technical, artistic and creative disciplines share this type of structure, but it has become less visible, I suppose, in those that have existed for centuries. In permaculture, so many of the greats are happily still with us, and the lineages of our forest of knowledge are more evident.

Long life to that forest. May the diversity of trees and shrubs, herbs and vines continue to flourish and grow. May Geoff's online class be like broadcasting acorns, spreading the forest far beyond its current limitations. May each limb and each branch stay strong and thrive, producing new branches each season, sending out new leaves to harvest the sunlight shining on another few acres of the planet. May those that teach do so after having tested the strength of their own knowledge across the seasons, to be sure that they do not send out weak branches that will wither in the next drought or snap in the next storm. May those who learn recognize that they are being granted a place in this great permaculture forest, and try to make a contribution to the organisms around them. May the little twigs who have just come into being realize their full potential to benefit from and be of benefit to the whole.

And this reflection made me realize that I am probably a leaf. A deciduous one that will fall away at some point (hopefully in a distant future). I will flutter in the sunlight, harvest of few photons of energy on my little plot of ground, but not have much influence on others. If I am very lucky, I will be a twig, and my enthusiasm for all of this will give rise to a couple of other leaves here and there, friends and family who will feed off the tree of permaculture knowledge and become a part of the forest.

That's a nice thought to end on.

Have a good weekend in the forest, all of you limbs and branches and twigs!


 
Rick LaJambe
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Beautifully said, Heidi.
 
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Thank you for the last few posts Paul and Heidi, after reading some of the other posts, I am happier now.


By the way, I am taking the course and so far have found that Geoff's passion for the information shines through in the videos and I can't wait to see the rest!
 
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Ouch. My comment has been deleted by Paul (presuming here). I'm not sure how to criticize Geoff's recent sales pitch without being culled. I'll offer only this, I do believe there are legitimate reasons to question the efficacy of offering 'the only answer' to global climate change for a fee. It's a bit different from offering 'the only rocket stove'. I'm curious what Joel Salatin or John Liu think about this latest development, Liu, especially, as he's kind of gone from a major promotor to a major salesman, literally overnight. It may not bother him in the least. I honestly don't know. I should have added to the original comment that I do believe that the people who pay for the course will learn a great deal. I wanted to take it. But, now, meh, not so much. If patterns hold out there will be additional sales opportunities as the initial course comes to a close, or perhaps a hierarchy of sorts for levels of monetary contribution. Forgive me, I am very skeptical by nature. I'd love to be proved wrong. If it doesn't happen please, please keep us posted on their absence. Perhaps that would begin to restore some of my lost respect. Good luck, though, to everyone who paid and I do hope I'm wrong. I was getting pretty excited about Geoff and his ideas until, well.., Good studies and good growing!
 
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I'd love to take place in the course but it makes me sad that you have to be at least 18
 
pollinator
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My inbox will be less lively now that the enrollment has ended, so many updates!

To those who are currently in the course keep us posted please! I'm curious to see how it compares Patrick Whitefield's online course. I am betting Geoff's panache smacks you in the face right through the screen.

And is there any plans for a Skype or YouTube style end-PDC talent show? That is such a big part of the whole experience.
 
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paul wheaton wrote:I do know that Geoff tracked the previous video stuff and that made it so that NINE registrations so far have fed my empire. So I think you are probably already covered.



I expect you got a little $ from my fee then. Glad to hear. Congratulations on your land closing.
 
the navigator
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Well, now it's closed. On friday the second chapter will be available. Chapter one was high quality. A way to describe the feeling of eagerness, would be like the fealing when Paul posts new podcasts or videos and you just now it will be great! It's just that you know the dates and you know the theme in advance, and in the end you get a PDC certificate. It's awesome!
 
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I signed up after reading all of the feedback here. So far I am impressed and I think this course will give me what I need to implement the knowledge I've gained from many different sources. I've always felt stuck when I go to carve out my ideas in the real world.
 
Rick LaJambe
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I received a message from someone who could not afford the pdc before registration cutoff. The message was a request for a transaction that would have me sell my course dvds, at a much lower cost than the pdc price tag. I sympathize that many who wanted to do this could not afford to. It was a heavy decision that I myself made when I committed to investing in this program. What made me realize the value was the very fact that I could have the hard copy to review at any time. To sell my dvds would take that value out of the equation for me. Also, to do so would be contrary to a legally binding agreement that everyone made upon course registration.

I just wanted to bring this up to help others understand that they will not likely get any positive response from such requests.

From all signs, this course looks to be something that will be offered again in time. Likely the next round will be an improvement upon the first offering as nothing is perfect the first time. My best advice is to save up as much as you can between now and when they offer the course again.

The post by Nathan Leudtke earlier in this thread said it best when he quoted a letter Larry Santoyo sent him:

Please take my advise - We are talking about a sustainable future not a subsidized future... The world doesn't owe you a living... get work, learn what you can, work harder, save your money -and where ever you go, always pay your full way in this world. With that skill-set, trust me, you will always be respected and always be welcome anywhere...

 
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I signed up as well and am really enjoying the course. Being in a place where the closest PDC is 8 hrs away, taking it online is great, and with one of the greats of permaculture too. Not too shabby. I like the online deal because I got my Bachelor's online and I am already use to that style of teaching. Of course, I would love to go to Australia and do it in person but I think the 1000 bucks for the course and all the dvds isn't too bad. I like the fact that my wife can watch the videos and get on the same page with me about the whole permaculture idea. It was hard explaining to her about it before I started taking this course.
 
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An update after a few weeks.

As expected, the content is excellent and his delivery is right on target. There is none of the "end of the world" feeling that was present in the promotional material. Just very good information presented by someone that has obviously been doing this successfully for quite a while. His videos are simple, mostly just Geoff and a whiteboard, but the information is priceless and really makes you realize how many bits and pieces you have been missing. Not necessarily big things, just lots of little details that really make you rethink what you thought you knew.

However, the best part of it so far is due to its online nature. Being able to go back and re-listen to portions that were complicated or going back to a concept after something clicked later on is invaluable.

I would say that after 3 weeks, the course would have been worth the price even without the videos and extras that are being thrown in. These items are simply icing on the cake.

That being said, I am also enrolled in an on-site course on Mark Shepard's farm in a couple of weeks, where I anticipate we will get our hands dirty with the nuts and bolts of Forest Ag at it's finest.

His comments are that his goal is not to teach anyone how to go out and teach Permaculture, but instead to inspire people to actually go out and practice Forest Agriculture with success.

I look forward to discussing the different approaches here in the future.
 
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I am enjoying the material a lot, and I do feel like I'm learning a good deal.
I really wish they would make the audio-only available as mp3s or podcast. I would miss the blackboard material, but only about 10% of the videos have important blackboard stuff- most often he's just making notes. I am finding myself falling behind because I don't have a lot of time to watch videos.

I also find that his speaking style is challenging to follow- he has a lot of long pauses, as he links concepts together. You have to be pretty focused to follow his train of thought sometimes, and I find that the time I have available to watch the videos (mostly nights after work) those pauses are right where I drift off and lose the thread. If I had an mp3, I could keep active and engaged by doing the cooking, cleaning, gardening etc which really helps me to concentrate on the content.

I've tried playing the video on my phone and just listening through headphones, but that only works so well.
 
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I'm really enjoying the course so far, I have done several of the free ones and did a hands on course last year that I thought was a real waste of time and money. This online course has been better so far, I thought with the DVD's and the earthworks it's really a great deal overall. I believe when the course is over we will also get it on DVD. I was also able to use my survival podcast discount so it was $885 the day it ran through the CC, also ordered the Manual for $78...can't beat that.

To Nathan and others looking for mp3's. There is a few tricks you can use, for one I use firefox and flashgot, which allows you to download streaming videos, from sites like youtube and Geoff's site. Geoff's video's download as MP4's which can be played as just audio or you can also use another converter to convert to MP3. I then put the videos on my iPhone to watch as needed. Like you I need to watch and listen a few times before I get it sometimes.

And if anyone asks I'm not sharing any of the videos, I don't have high speed internet where I live so I travel into town and then download everything to view offline as needed. Plus it allows me to put them in the video player and plug it into my big screen at home...then it really looks like a white board!
 
nathan luedtke
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Rick, great suggestion. I was able to download a bucket of videos to my phone, and watched them on my bus to work this morning. Worked perfectly. I'm looking forward to catching up to the class now that I have an extra 1.5-2 hrs per weekday to devote to it. Thank you for reminding me that such things are possible.
 
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Taking the course has been pretty exciting. Its been a little tough for me to keep up (I'm half way through week 5 and week 7 is being published tomorrow.)

I have to confess, I don't know if perhaps I did this prematurely. I've never successfully grown anything in my life unfortunately. Not even in a container/pot. I don't own property yet.

I want to get started on a design though! I have found a few sponsors for taking my class. In exchange I am am going to be designing their property for them. This will also help my course certification.

I'm also now voluntarily brainwashing myself by listening to all of Paul's podcasts. I'll probably be purchasing the non free ones soon!
 
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John Paul Smajda wrote:Taking the course has been pretty exciting. Its been a little tough for me to keep up (I'm half way through week 5 and week 7 is being published tomorrow.)

I have to confess, I don't know if perhaps I did this prematurely. I've never successfully grown anything in my life unfortunately. Not even in a container/pot. I don't own property yet.

I want to get started on a design though! I have found a few sponsors for taking my class. In exchange I am am going to be designing their property for them. This will also help my course certification.

I'm also now voluntarily brainwashing myself by listening to all of Paul's podcasts. I'll probably be purchasing the non free ones soon!



I almost wish I was in your shoes. You will have a huge advantage when obtaining a property, and transforming it once you get it. Smart, very smart.

I can only imagine how much better the place would be now, if I knew this stuff before I started. Oh well, now I have the opportunity to design around some, shall we say, less than optimal planning.
 
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I'm in the same boat as you, John Paul, but there are other ways you can implement the PDC training, even without land. I plan on starting small and doing urban permaculture with disadvantaged youth, and using it as a tool of empowerment for them - after all, if you don't have to worry about how to feed yourself, that takes one more stressor out of your life, right? The concepts that Geoff is sharing don't require implementation, just concentration, to take the first step in changing your thinking and opening your mind. It can happen at any stage (you'll hear about Geoff's mind being blown by "canoeing around the hillside" and see what I mean soon, lol).

The PDC tools we're getting can be implemented at any size land, even an apartment balcony, and are totally scaleable. Do what you can with what you have now, and plan for your future. You will make much better choices having this knowledge than if you had bought land previously. I've already weeded out many potential homesteads and narrowed my vision from what I've learned so far!
 
Jennifer Jennings
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I also want to add that Geoff's course has been fabulous, and I feel, worth every dollar (and for those of you who don't know me, I am one really cheap broad!). Even though I had all of Mollison's books and read them thoroughly, I'm still getting my value from the course - and if someone has a thing I value, I feel they should be compensated accordingly.
 
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Heidi... the course has been far beyond my expectations, Indeed as a Landscape Architect of over 20 years professional experience, I reflect on the sum value of my tertiary qualification and post graduate experience to realise (with a great sense of satisfaction... verging on elation), that this online pdc has already transcended my university gained qualifications (which cost approx 12k in Australia in the early nineties), not just in monetary terms though... but as a facilitator of paradigm shift in my professional practice.
 
pollinator
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Hi there! I've been away for a while but just popped in to look at the reviews of Geoff Lawtons on line PDC.

I am going to try to find a way to take it if it is offered again -- and now that I know it will give a kick back here I will make sure to go through permies to sign up for the course.

Good Stuff!
 
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I'm selling my DVD set from the Geoff Lawton online PDC if anyone is interested. The DVD's are outstanding, but it is time for me to recoup some of the cost of the course, and the fastest way I know to do that is to sell my DVD's.
I have them listed on ebay, you can see the full description and what's included on ebay.
 
Rick Brodersen
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I'll be interested in seeing how the DVD set sells, I might put mine up closer to Christmas
 
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I'll be interested in seeing how the DVD set sells, I might put mine up closer to Christmas



Rick- I bought Jamies set of PDC DVD's on ebay for $400.

Can someone please elaborate on the Free "Earthworks Course" that came with the PDC?

Now that I have purchased this set is there any way for me to get the online earthworks course that came with?


Chad
 
Cj Sloane
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The Earthworks course was online only. Doesn't seem to be available yet as a DVD. It was quite good.
 
Clifford Reinke
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YES!!!
 
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Well done Cliff !!
Congrats!
 
Cj Sloane
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Congrats Cliff. I got mine last week... handed to me by Geoff in person! He gave a talk about an hour & half away - what luck!
Did you get any comments on your design?

Some people are posting there designs here:
http://permaculturedesigns.org/forum/index.php

Let me know if you post it somewhere, I'd love to have a look.
 
Clifford Reinke
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Cj Verde wrote:Congrats Cliff. I got mine last week... handed to me by Geoff in person! He gave a talk about an hour & half away - what luck!
Did you get any comments on your design?

Some people are posting there designs here:
http://permaculturedesigns.org/forum/index.php

Let me know if you post it somewhere, I'd love to have a look.



That is so cool you got it in person. Congrats

I have it posted on the Temperate Climate Permaculture board. It is at the end of the article. Two others are also posted there. I did not get any feedback on the design. Here is the link to my design scroll to the end of the article to find it.

Temperate Climate Permiculture
 
When I was younger I felt like a man trapped inside a woman's body. Then I was born. My twin is a tiny ad:
Earth Friendly Heat - Full Event - 16 hours of video
https://permies.com/wiki/188928/Earth-Friendly-Heat-Full-Event
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